Steamboat’s Worsley ready for 2nd Olympic event |

Steamboat’s Worsley ready for 2nd Olympic event

Blake Worsley

Watch online

The 800-meter semifinals will begin at 4:02 a.m. MDT Tuesday and can be seen online at

Worsley's first race in London can be seen in the "Swimming: Day 2 Prelims" video. His race starts at about the 34-minute mark of the 2-hour-and-22-minute segment.

Blake Worsley said his first experience in the Olympic waters of London was one he’ll never forget.

Now, he hopes his swim early Tuesday can at least temporarily prolong his stay in the world’s sporting spotlight.

Worsley, a Steamboat Springs swimmer competing for Team Canada, will compete in his second and final event, hitting the water at 4:02 a.m. MDT on Tuesday for the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay.

The Steamboat swimmer kicked off his Olympics on Sunday with a swim in the men’s 200-meter freestyle prelims. He was 17th there, only a split second shy of advancing to the semifinals.

He said he hopes he can help Canada to a different fate Tuesday. The Canadians are one of 16 teams qualified and will need to be at their very best if they’re to advance to the eight-team finals.

“I just want to go faster,” Worsley said by telephone Sunday. “I get to lead off the race, and I want to try to get Canada out to as much of a lead as I can.”

Worsley set a personal best in the 200 freestyle Sunday, finishing four lengths of the pool in 1 minute, 48.14 seconds. He said he took the beginning of that race carefully, afraid the Olympic spirit would spend him out too fast and leave him gassed in the end.

As it worked out, he had plenty of fuel left and he swam his last 100 meters as fast as he ever has.

That knowledge should help Tuesday.

“I’ve been working on my takeout speed this whole year,” he said. “It made me nervous, but I came back with the strongest 100 ever on the back half, and that gives me a lot of confidence that I can take it out even harder.”

Worsley will be joined in the effort by Colin Russell, Tobias Oriwol and Alec Page. Their qualifying time is 7:13.73. The American squad — the defending gold medalists — has the fastest time in the heat and the event at 7:02.67. The Canadians have the 11th-fastest time, so they’ll need to surprise at least three teams to swim into the finals, set for 1:51 p.m. MDT on Tuesday. They were solid in the relay in 2008, however, finishing fifth. Only Russell returns from that Canadian squad.

Worsley said the lessons he learned Sunday could pay off.

“It’s just another sporting event, but it’s not just another experience,” he said. “It’s exciting. It’s the biggest crowd at a swimming event I’ve ever seen in my entire career, and I want to use that to swim better.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

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